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Party Wall (WikiPedia)
A party wall (occasionally parti-wall or parting wall, also known as common wall or as a demising wall) is a dividing partition between two adjoining buildings that is shared by the occupants of each residence or business. Typically, the builder lays the wall along a property line dividing two terraced houses, so that one half of the wall’s thickness lies on each side. This type of wall is usually structural. Party walls can also be formed by two abutting walls built at different times. The term can be also used to describe a division between separate units within a multi-unit apartment complex. Very often the wall in this case is non-structural but designed to meet established criteria for sound and/or fire protection, i.e. a firewall.
The Party Wall Act 1996
as it effects the garden
At first sight, it is simple to believe that the 1996 Party Wall Act does not affect garden building, however it does impact the construction of boundary walls even if not part of buildings and can likewise applies to deep excavations.
The Party Wall Act 1996 entered into force in 1997, so it is now law and gives you rights and responsibilities whichever the side of the ‘wall’ you are on i.e. whether you are planning/doing deal with a pertinent structure or if your neighbour is.
The Party Wall Act does not apply to limit fences.
The Party Wall Act does not affect any requirement for Planning Permission for any work carried out. Similarly, having Planning Authorization does not negate the requirements under the Party Wall Act.
The Party Wall Act enters impact if somebody is preparing to do work on an appropriate structure, for the purposes of the Act ‘party wall’ does not simply imply the wall between two semi-detached residential or commercial properties, as far as garden enthusiasts are concerned it covers:
- A garden wall, where the wall is astride the border line (or butts up against it) and is utilized to separate the residential or commercial properties however is not part of any structure.
- Excavation close to a neighbouring home.
For information of how the Party Wall Act affects building work in general, have a look at this page.
Similar to all work affecting neighbours, it is constantly much better to reach a friendly agreement rather than resort to any law. Even where the work needs a notice to be served, it is better to informally discuss the desired work, consider the neighbours remarks, and change your plans (if appropriate) before serving the notice.
What garden work needs a notification and permission.
The basic principle of the Party Wall Act is that all work which might have an impact upon the structural strength or support function of the party wall or might trigger damage to the neighbouring side of the wall should be notified. If in doubt, guidance ought to be sought from a regional Building Control Office or expert surveyor/architect.
Work in the garden covered by the Party Wall Act consist of:
- To rebuild/build a party and/or demolish boundary wall.
- To increase the height or density of a party limit wall.
- Excavations within 3 metres of a neighbouring structure where the excavation will go below the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
- Excavations within 6 metres of a neighbouring building where the excavation will go below a line drawn 45 ° downwards from the bottom of the foundations of the neighbouring building.
If the planned work on a limit wall falls under the Party Wall Act, a notice must be released to all impacted neighbouring parties. The notice should include (see sample letters in Part 5 of the Party Wall leaflet):.
- The owners of the property undertaking the work.
- The address of the home.
- A full description of the proposed work (this will normally be simply a single sentence detailing the work).
- The proposed start date for the work.
- A clear statement that the notification is being served under The Party Wall etc Act 1996.
- The date the notice is being served.
- If the work includes excavations, a drawing showing the depth, position etc
If the prepared work is a new limit wall up to or astride the boundary line the procedure of serving a notice under the Party Wall Act is as follows:.
- The individual planning to carry out the work must serve a composed notice a minimum of one months prior to the desired start of the work to every neighbouring party providing details of the work to be carried out.
- Each neighbouring party must respond in writing providing authorization or signing up dissent – if a neighbouring party does nothing within 2 week of getting the notice, the result is to put the notification into disagreement. No official agreement is needed for a wall up to the border line, the neighbour just needs not to object in composing.
- No work might commence on a wall astride the boundary line up until all neighbouring celebrations have concurred in writing to the notice (or a modified notice).
See listed below regarding what takes place in case of a dispute/objection.
If the prepared work is an excavation within the distance/depth covered by the Party Wall Act, the notification needs to be served at least one month prior to the planned start day of the work. Neighbouring celebrations must offer written contract within 2 week or a conflict is considered to have actually occurred.
See below concerning what occurs in case of a dispute/objection.
What takes place if a dispute emerges.
If arrangement can not be reached in between neighbouring celebrations, the procedure is as follows:.
- A Surveyor or Surveyors is/are appointed to determine a reasonable and neutral Award, either:.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all parties).
- Each party selects their own Property surveyor to represent the private parties.
The individual who is carrying out the work will generally need to pay all the costs of the Surveyors, the only exception being if the neighbour calls out a Property surveyor needlessly – in the viewpoint of the Property surveyor. It must be noted that any Surveyor needs to act within their statutory responsibilities and propose a objective and reasonable Award.
- A single ‘Agreed Property surveyor’ (somebody acceptable to all parties).
- The Agreed Property surveyor, or the specific Surveyors jointly, will produce an Award which needs to be reasonable and unbiased to all celebrations.
- Once an Award has actually been made, all parties have 2 week to appeal to a County Court against the Award.
When you have agreement.
Once you have contract, all work must comply with the notification. All the agreements need to be maintained to ensure that a record of the granted permission is kept; a subsequent buyer of the home might want to establish that the work was performed in accordance with the Party Wall Act requirements.
Keep in mind:
- We’ve only given a brief outline of the Party Wall Act here as it affects garden work however have a look at the Communities and Local Government website for a more thorough explanatory booklet including example letters for notifications and responses.
- Going over intended work with neighbours is totally free and can avoid misunderstanding which might develop if a notification arrives all of a sudden.
- Your local Structure Control Office may be able to give totally free advice relating to the Party Wall Act and how it applies to specific circumstances.
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